After this weeks bursts of solid rain it was a relief to see a dry Sunday morning and 7 Moles drag themselves out of bed and make the effort to get up to Bocketts car park for what was to be an expedition into the Surrey Hills with mud avoidance high on the menu!
Lurking in the car park in no particular order were James, Pete, Karlos, Elliott and Lloyd. Once again Elliott had pulled yet another new bike out of his car, a nice luminous green, Trek, Gary Fisher hardtail if you must know. Myself and Karlos had manned up and brought along the Single speeds, hoping that this would not be our undoing later on in the ride.
I should add that no Mole Fathers were present again due to one being on a long term sickie and the other now retired from riding, allegedly. 🙂
Just as I arrived a text from Jem pinged in to say he had left home but turned back with dropper post issues, so with JR waiting to be picked up from the end of his road we headed off with a rough plan to get over to Peaslake and Holmbury via Whitedown and Abinger Roughs.
Now I was aware that we did a similar ride this time last year so if we were to make Peaslake stores on time before the Remembrance Sunday service started we would have to get a wiggle on as the stores close their doors at 10:45 until the service is over. (possible cake disaster and Mole riot)!
The usual route along a squirmy Bocketts tunnel and a quick right turn at the crossroads before Admirals Track saw us drop down for a short road section to the end of JR’s road, as no one fancied an early bath in the knee deep puddles of black horse p~ss and other weird stuff along Admirals Track!
Having collected JR we headed up over Ranmore and along collarbone before heading down Whitedown with most riders showing the chalky descent some respect. Abinger roughs were reasonably dry on the sandier soil before dragging ourselves up the Paddington Farm climb.
Across to Holmbury Youth hostel before following one of Big Al’s routes up to Holmbury hill and Yogurt pots. 5 of us rode up to the view point on Holmbury for a group mugshot before rolling down Yogurt Pots without incident. I must say the Pots were running nicely with plenty of grip under the tyres despite all the rain and the grins on everyone’s faces seemed to confirm this.
Needing to push the group on, we headed straight across from the Pots to the top of Barry’s before caning it down to Peaslake and arriving with just enough time to get our drinks and cakes from the stores before they temporarily closed doors, phew!
After a brief discussion about return routes it was decided to go with JR and Elliott’s suggestion and head up the not very single-speed friendly Walking Bottom road climb, thanks JR, before taking a right and following some trails before picking up what can definitely be called the River run trail, down to Ponds lane and across to Shere.
The reverse route home from Shere was the logical approach and with a few riders now starting to feel the effects of the climbing and heavy going in places this seemed like a sensible idea. It was round about here that my rear pads decided they had had enough and gave up, prompting annoying ticking noises all the way home due to the retaining clip rubbing on the rotor. It’s amazing how much you need your rear brake when there aint one and it made for some delicate front braking on the descents. 🙁
Across the Roughs and up High Med with some tired legs in the bunch before clattering down Dearly Beloved, up through the Polesden estate and a cheeky route out onto Chapel Lane so as to miss the worst of the swampy bits on the Connicutt lane bridleway, had us back down to the Polesden road. Here JR and Lloyd headed home while the rest of us took the reverse loop back towards Bocketts, avoiding the still dark and deep horse p~ss puddles again.
Unusually, no Moles were harmed during this ride, no tyres were punctured or split and no bits of Karlos’s bike fell off! Maybe we weren’t trying hard enough?
Another great mornings ride in the sunshine with good company, including a huge effort from Lloyd to cover this sort of distance again, 29.4 miles on the clock and over 3192 ft of ascent, Luverly …. tho’ both legs locked up later forcing me to hit the sofa hard for a couple of hours in the afternoon. 🙂 Marvellous!